Infamous for hijacking an Indian plane in 1971, Hashim Qureshi on Wednesday released his second book and made passionate appeal to the people “to raise development issues” as “mujahideen’s (read militiants) struggle has achieved nothing but an army of orphans, widows and pushed illiteracy figures up in the state.
Speaking at the release of his second book The Undeniable Truth in Srinagar, Qureshi said Indian democracy stopped at Lakhanpur (border area of Kashmir bordering Punjab). “We don’t get the feel of true judiciary. In Kashmir, Chief Justice and judges are subservient to the Chief Minister and state administration, which is obvious from the continuous detention of political leaders like Shabir Shah, whose detention was quashed by the court but continued to be incarcerated.”
Qureshi, who hijacked the plane Ganga in 1971 in Srinagar and diverted it to Lahore and where it was blasted, said Kashmir has witnessed six-and-a-half years of shutdown which makes no sense to him.
“We are not manufacturers that if we observe shutdown we will unnerve India. Instead we have lost Rs two Lakh thousand crores because of shutdowns,” said Qureshi.
He alleged that New Delhi wants to make Kashmiris dependant on Indian for basic amenities. But, in the same breath, he advocated that people should start raising local issues to unnerve the rulers.
“We have to first love our water, environment and preserve land before asking for independence. Unfortunately, most of the Kashmiris are hypocrites,” said Qureshi, who was allowed to return to Kashmir by the government in 2000 after living in exile for 30 years. He added: “We have to work for a system.”
Referring to moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and hardline separatist leader Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, Qureshi said “their struggles won’t achieve anything as there is no common line of action and no programme. “Above all there is no unification,” he added.
Claiming security agencies were dividing opinion in Kashmir. Qureshi reiterated his stand that he is for “independent Kashmir” and dispelled the suggestion he was working for any security agency.
“If people have proof about anybody working for any security agency, they should come forward,” he added.